Walk - Bay Valley of Rocks - Lynton and the Valley of Rocks

2.7 miles (4.3 km)

Bay Valley of Rocks Hotel, Lynton Bay Valley of Rocks Hotel, Lynton

Easy -

A classic easy walk along a relatively level section of high cliffs between Lynton and the spectacular Valley of Rocks.

There are a range of wonderful places to lay your head near the Coast Path for a well-earned sleep. From large and luxurious hotels, to small and personable B&B's, as well as self-catering options and campsites. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

The Denes Guest House

The Denes offer locally sourced food and comfortable en-suite bedrooms, facilities to dry outdoor gear and a selection of maps. Books, DVDs and board games for relaxation.

Longmead House

One of Lynton’s best kept secrets, beautiful Victorian B&B offers plenty of comfort after a long day’s walk with picturesque gardens, en-suite bedrooms and breakfast like no other.

Gable Lodge Guest House

Family run guest house offering family friendly bed and breakfast accommodation. Freshly prepared evening meals using local produce.

South View Guest House

We look forward to welcoming you to our newly refurbished & upgraded Edwardian Guest House. Ideally located for pubs, restaurants, shops and the spectacular North Devon Coast Path.

St Vincent Guest House

Beautiful grade II Georgian B&B in the heart of Lynton, minutes from the coastal path. Packed lunch by arrangement & all diets catered for.

The Crown Hotel

A warm welcome awaits at the Crown Hotel, originally a coaching inn. Located in the heart of Lynton, a quiet base to explore N.Devon's rugged coastline. One night stays and dogs welcome.

Orchard House Hotel

Friendly, homely atmosphere. Full English breakfast, licensed bar, kit drying, luggage transfers,single occupancy reductions,walking parties welcome as well as pets & children

Hillside House B&B

Situated on the East Lyn River, we are ideally suited to walkers needs, 400 yards from the Coast Path. The perfect location to explore & enjoy coast, riverside & woodland.

The Old Sea Captains House

Set against the mouth of the East Lyn River, the Captain’s House offers an ideal base from which to explore the Exmoor and North Devon coastline.

Lorna Doone House

Licensed guest house ideally suited for the Coast Path. Evening meals by request.

The Blue Ball Inn

The Blue Ball Inn is a dog-friendly traditional coaching inn, located in the hamlet of Countisbury, offering a high standard of bed and breakfast accommodation with a warm welcome.

Mannacott Farm, near Hunters Inn

Delicious farmhouse breakfast served with views over Trentishoe Down. Contact 01598 763227 or [email protected] Packed lunch available on request. 

Martinhoe Cleave Cottages

Stay at these lovely, well-appointed cottages (2 cottages sleep 2 people and one cottage sleeps 2-4 people) and explore the dramatic South West Coast Path. Tel: 01598 753987

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

This walk starts at the Bay Valley of Rocks Hotel.

  1. Come out of the hotel and face the church.

Although the tower of the St Mary the Virgin Church dates from the 13th Century, most of the rest of the building is Victorian. According to local legend, the church was first sited opposite Cherrybridge on the Barnstaple road; but disapproving pixies spirited the materials away every night, until the exasperated builders finally gave in and built it here instead.

Turn immediate left down North Walk Hill. At the bottom of the hill, you cross a bridge over the cliff railway and join the South West Coast Path, which follows North Walk to the Valley of Rocks.

The bridge affords good views over Lynmouth and along the coast to the lighthouse at the end of Foreland Point. The construction just offshore in the bay below, resembling a small oil platform, was the world's first open-sea tidal turbine, generating electricity using the powerful tidal currents of the Bristol Channel. It provided 25% more power than anticipated, and led to the construction of a very successful commercial turbine in Northern Ireland.

The Cliff Railway was built between 1887 and 1890, with most of the rock being cut by hand, this is one of several cliff railways built around England by local entrepreneur George Newnes. This railway is unique, however, being wholly water-powered and so carbon neutral.

  1. Continuing along North Walk the road turns into a path. Please close the wooden gate behind you, to keep the feral goats from wandering into the town.

The eleventh century Domesday Book recorded 75 goats in the Manor of Lyntonia, and a herd of feral goats roamed the valley until the mid-nineteenth century. Their habit of killing the more valuable sheep by butting them off the cliffs made them unpopular with local farmers, however, and they were culled. Later it was recognised that the goats provided a valuable service by keeping the vegetation and scrub under control, and at the start of the twentieth century a replacement herd of white goats was brought in, although by the mid-1960s the whole herd had perished. The current herd was introduced in 1976 from the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland. Not only are these goats hardy enough to survive the exposed conditions on this part of the coastline, their numbers have increased dramatically since then, reaching over 100 at one time.

  1. After about half a mile, the craggy tor of Rugged Jack appears on the left.

Another local legend claims that some Druids were having a riotous time here on a Sunday, dancing and making merry. Suddenly the Devil appeared amongst them and turned them all to stone.

Continuing onwards, the towering mass of Castle Rock comes into view, and soon you enter the Valley of Rocks.

It is thought that the dry valley was originally created by the River Lyn flowing through it, before it changed its course to flow down to Lynmouth. Some geologists believe that the coastline was eroded to a bend in the river, which created a cliff waterfall that continued to erode directly inland. Others suggest that during the Ice Age an ice dam across the mouth of the Lyn diverted the river through the Valley of Rocks.

As you join the road from the footpath, look out for the White Lady whose shape appears in the cracks between the boulders making up Castle Rock, now on your left. On the opposite side of the valley to Castle Rock is the ‘Devil’s Cheese Ring’, home of the White Lady herself, white witch Mother Meldrum in R D Blackmore’s novel, Lorna Doone. According to the novel:

"This valley, or 'goyal' as we term it, being small for a valley, lies to the east of Linton, about a mile from the town, perhaps, and away towards Ley Manor. Our home folk always call it the 'Danes' or the 'Denes,' which is no more they tell me than a hollow place, even as the word 'den' is. However, let that pass, for I know very little about it; but the place itself is a pretty one, though nothing to frighten anybody unless he hath lived in a gally-pot. It is a green, rough-sided hollow, bending at the middle, touched with stone at either crest, and dotted here and there with slabs in and out the brambles. On the right hand is an upward crag, called by some the 'Castle,' easy enough to scale, and giving great view of the Channel. Facing this from the inland side and the elbow of the valley, a queer old pile of rocks arises, bold behind one another, and quite enough to affright a man, if it were only ten times larger. This is called the 'Devil's Cheese Ring,' or the 'Devil's Cheese Knife,' which means the same thing, as our fathers were used to eat their cheese from a scoop; and perhaps in old time the upmost rock (which has fallen away since I knew it) was like such an implement, if Satan eat cheese untoasted.”

Ley Manor, mentioned here by Blackmore, was a Domesday manor sited a little way to the north of Lee Abbey.

  1. To return to Lynton, turn left to walk up the road, passing a couple of car parks, a café, public toilets and a picnic area. After going past what must be one of the prettiest locations for a cricket ground anywhere, a tarmac path leads off on the left, signed to North Walk.
  2. If you follow this path it will take you through a small ‘pass’ between Chimney Rock and Rugged Jack and onto the Coast Path whereupon you can retrace your steps back to Lynton and along North Walk Hill back to the Hotel. Alternatively, for a shorter, but less scenic walk, continue following the road which leads directly back to Lynton and to the Hotel.
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